Roland Juno 60

Roland Juno 60
« on: February 26, 2016, 03:33:38 PM »
I had a Juno 60 many moons ago.  I thought it was good, especially the filter, but not worthy of the adulation it's given these days.  A Prophet '08 could run circles around it.
I can't argue with that. The Juno sounds great but has none of the versatility of the P'08. It was my first analog poly so I'm still a little sentimental about it.

[I'm picking up this theme from the "Prophet '08 Among Prophets" thread because I didn't want to lead that discussion off track.]

Let me come clean on this topic, because I hate to criticize an instrument that some one else holds dear.  The Roland Juno 60 was my very first polyphonic synthesizer.  I thought the world of it back then, and I've even recently thought about getting another one.  It makes a narrow range of sounds extremely well.  The combination of pulse width modulation and the stereo chorus can produce some very warm and beautiful strings and pads.  I have an old cassette recording of a choir patch I made on it that is quite amazing.  Who knows if my love for stereo synthesis originally came from the Juno 60?!  It can also make some excellent piano and harpsichord sounds.  But I guess I think of it now almost as a sort of preset instrument of the old piano, harpsichord, strings, and brass type, even though it can do much more.  But there's an advantage to this.  Whenever I want to hear some synthesizer music while working online, I sometimes go to Juno 60 videos because I know they're more likely to be musical, rather than just noises and sound effects.  And that's because of the instrument's simplicity.  So, there's a great benefit in the instrument's simplicity and "limitations".  These are just the sort of limitations that I find quite helpful in keeping one on track making music with a synthesizer, rather than just amusical sounds and effects.

Although I shun vintage instruments because of the maintenance issues, I would be happy to have a Juno 60 again.

Here is the Celtic king of Roland Junos:

https://www.youtube.com/user/mik300z/videos
« Last Edit: February 26, 2016, 04:06:43 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!"

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chysn

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Re: Roland Juno 60
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2016, 04:59:44 PM »
I'm not sure if this thread is supposed to be about the Juno 60 specifically, or about limitations in synthesis, but I sort of feel like hitting both of those points.

I have good memories and impressions of old Roland analog instruments. The first synthesizer that I ever played with alone for more than a few minutes was my friend's mom's Alpha Juno-1. I didn't do any programming, but I loved the deep pad sounds of the thing. It's still a sound that I enjoy. The Juno 60 and Juno 106 have the same strengths. Outside of the rich deep strings and pads, they're not terribly impressive. But what they do well, they do well.

Edit: I read the rest of the Prophet 08 thread, and I now realize that this topic was started to keep that topic from going off topic, and everything I wrote below puts this topic at risk of going off topic. So, please disregard what follows, and stay on the Juno 60 topic.

As far as instruments with limitations, I'm terribly fond of my Little Phatty. The thought of giving up the LP keeps me from getting serious GAS for anything, including more capable instruments like the Pro 2 or Sub37. It has the bare minimum of what might be acceptable for a real synth, with just enough uncommon extras (1-pole filter, filter overdrive, Osc 2 as an LFO source AND destination) to keep it interesting. But the natural sound of the thing makes me happy, even with the lack of advanced modulation options. And if I ever want to, I can always buff it up with a CP-251 or a Korg SQ-1.

There's a lot to be said for the ability to just dial in a decent sound without having to think too hard about it.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2016, 05:09:04 PM by chysn »
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Re: Roland Juno 60
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2016, 05:24:15 PM »
Chysn, maybe you should start a limitations in synthesis thread and/or a Little Phatty thread.

"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!"

- Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Roland Juno 60
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2016, 06:21:13 PM »
Chysn, maybe you should start a limitations in synthesis thread and/or a Little Phatty thread.

I have no idea what you're talking about. I thought I said to disregard that!
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Re: Roland Juno 60
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2016, 08:46:23 PM »
I have, by the way, had the chance to play a Juno 60. I used to work at a used musical instrument store in the late 90s to early aughts, and we would occasionally get vintage synths. We had exactly one Juno 60 during my tenure, and around three Juno 106es, which we would routinely sell for $400 USD. Anyway, it's certainly true that the Juno 60 sounds a little better. But the Juno 106 sounds good enough, and I think MIDI is worth the tradeoff.

If one needs to round out one's sound with the classic Juno vibe, the Alpha Juno-1 (or -2) provides great bang for the buck. Downside is that it's plastic, and it's really hard to find one that isn't either scratched to hell or plagued with cracked chassis screw standoffs.
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dswo

Re: Roland Juno 60
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2016, 04:06:29 PM »
Two years ago I bought a Juno 6 for US$500 (the going rate then on eBay). As simple as the architecture is, I rarely feel the absence of patch memory -- but then I don't play live either. I sometimes wonder what my Prophet 08 would sound like through the Juno's chorus. Then again, I bought the Juno to be different. One thing it's made me appreciate is the Prophet 08's precision.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2016, 06:00:51 PM by dswo »
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Re: Roland Juno 60
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2016, 06:48:48 AM »
The JX-3P does not get a lot of love, but it is killer for the money - and you get the Roland chorus to go with it.

The Kiwi-ed JX-3Ps are very good value, and (assuming that the chorus mod board has been installed) you get fine-grained control over the chorus that you won't get with the Juno-106 / HS-60 or the older Juno-60. Also - unlike the Kiwi-ed Juno units, the Kiwi-ed JX-3P gives you a detuned unison mode, which makes a huge difference.
Sequential / DSI stuff: Prophet-6 Keyboard with Yorick Tech LFE, Prophet 12 Keyboard, Mono Evolver Keyboard, Split-Eight, Six-Trak, Prophet 2000

Re: Roland Juno 60
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2016, 02:19:09 AM »
I did spend a lot of time tweaking the Juno 60 back in the late 80's. There was a great balance over the entire 61 Keys.
It always had sufficient polyphony.
Unfortunately I had little time to  spend tweaking the Prophet 08. When I did find a great sound I would usually have to compensate my playing to accommodate polyphony. As nice as it is to have maximum control for tweaking (like most synths)I really think the presets on both these synths are a good indication of their limitations & abilities.
Prophet-6, Korg M3,Petros Classical Guitar, Gibson ES 339, Blackstar HT20,Pigtronix PK, Cry Baby, Aqua Puss. Roland VS840GX.

Re: Roland Juno 60
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2016, 04:46:26 AM »
I bought a Juno 60 back in 1982. It was the first polyphonic synth I could afford! Prior to that we hired P5's and OBXa's as needed. My memories of the Juno 60 are all good. Ditto on the choir sounds I got out of it. Also some really passable Hammond sounds (for the time). The Juno also had a really quick attack so it was great for funk and edgy stuff. The thing that really made the Juno 6/60 stand out was the quality of its filters. They would properly oscillate and hold their pitch. They had some warmth too. You could (as with the choir and the organ patches) put the filter just on the edge of oscillation just off key to produce some lovely slightly distorted harmonics. And the programmer would hold it! Later Roland synths like the Jx3p and the 106 just didn't have as good a filter. For me the Juno 60/6 was probably the last budget polysynth from Roland to have a good analog sound.

Another thing that was cool about the Juno 60 was its DCB interface. This was an immediate precursor to Midi. In fact a year or so later when I bought a Dx7 I made a DCB interface out of an old Motorola 6800 single board development kit, connected it to my Sinclair Spectrum via a Midi port DIY kit and wrote a set software routines to convert Midi to DCB, so I could play the Juno from the Dx7.

Sadly I sold the Juno 60 not long after I had the Dx7, largely because it didn't have velocity control or midi! And there were a few DCO synths around that did.. Siel Opera 6, Chase Bit 1... Although none proved any good until I got a Prophet 2000 in 1987. That's a whole other love story! 😊

« Last Edit: March 28, 2016, 04:49:06 AM by Hector Space »
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| Kurzweil Forte | Casio Privia PX 5s | Nord Electro 3 73 | Studiologic Sledge Black| Roland Juno Di | DSI Prophet 6 | Oberheim DPX 1 | EMU Esi 4000 | 2 x Yamaha Tx7 |

Re: Roland Juno 60
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2016, 03:30:19 AM »
I'm a recent owner of a Juno 6. Poor thing is in rough shape, but it's still useable. I love it - the sound and ease of use. My first polysynth back in the day was a PolySix, and my second was a Prophet 5. Both of those synths could take me to darker, murkier, mysterious places, but the Juno seems happy to be bright and simply beautiful. When the Juno was first out, I had a sort of "cola wars" attitude - the Korg was my Pepsi and the Juno was Coke and that was that! I sold the Korg to a friend and still have access to it when I'm back in California, and am thus able to try it out "versus" the Roland on my recordings. Like many of us on forums like this, by now, I'd happy with one or two of every and any synth made. In reality, however, I'm so pleased to have the chance finally to understand the fuss about the Roland. When I'm recording and I reach for it, it almost always makes the cut - I know what I'm going to get, and I can get it within a minute of slipping the sliders about. Gorgeous synth, with its limitations a key part of its great strength, I'd say.

Re: Roland Juno 60
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2016, 11:55:45 AM »
Well said.  I wish there were similarly simple synthesizers that sounded great from which to choose today.  Making music has sadly become a very complicated matter, and it reflects on the music made.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2016, 12:28:09 PM by Sacred Synthesis »
"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!"

- Henry David Thoreau

The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

The Musical Synthesizer Blog: https://themusicalsynthesizer.wordpress.com

Re: Roland Juno 60
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2016, 02:06:45 PM »
For what it's worth, I still often tend to rely on very simple/basic synth sounds, at least as a starting point. With my Prophet 6, first thing I did was conjure some Vangelis-ish brassy patches and a few murky-to-bright strings. Very straightforward polysynth sounds. I've got the P6 to my left, just close enough that I can reach over and clump together an octave-and-a-fifth when I need reassurance! For all the amazing range that synths offer - and I can get my MS20 to sound like the worst coughing goat you've never heard - there's something so satisfying, on an electronically primal level, about a pair of furry sawtooth oscillators just going "wahhhhh..."

Re: Roland Juno 60
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2016, 02:19:02 PM »
and I can get my MS-20 to sound like the worst coughing goat you've never heard....

I'll definitely keep that in mind if ever I need one.  ;D
"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!"

- Henry David Thoreau

The Musical Synthesizer YouTube Channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChLGwGiRVs7rlZXnOG9_mUw

The Musical Synthesizer Blog: https://themusicalsynthesizer.wordpress.com

Re: Roland Juno 60
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2016, 03:14:31 PM »
Bit of a vague follow-up post, but I've been away from my Juno 6 (and my Prophet 6) for bit more than a month. I'm back in Cal where I have access to Prophet 5 and PolySix. The PolySix was mine for years before I sold it to a friend, so I know that synth quite well. I love the big string synth sounds and the sorta/semi-choir sounds, and I can conjure a decent fake Mellotron, but I'm really missing the Juno more and more. Returning to the old-skoo Coke™ vs Pepsi™ mindset, I seem to be drifting towards a shifted alliance. Not complaining - having access to all of these synths makes me and my albums happy, but I'm really feeling the limitation of the Korg like I never did before. Ironic, in that many of us agree that the Roland is quite defined by its limitation, the old "makes one sound, but what a sound" trip. It's wonderful that my friend is letting me borrow the PolySix while I'm in the States, but I'm not reaching for it nearly as often as I figured I would.